Liberty, if it means anything, means the right to – say ‘Free Palestine’ (I think, doesn’t it?)

This story is getting most coverage from sites/people who aren’t on HP’s blogroll.  But it’s still worth a look.

The BBC is under attack for using sound effects to mask the lyric “free Palestine” from a performance by rapper Mic Righteous on BBC Radio 1Xtra.

The corporation is being accused of bias after effectively editing the words from Mic Righteous’s improvised set, in which he expressed his views on subjects ranging from the American government to poverty and the floods in Pakistan.

This seems an inappropriate use of censorship. The reference to Palestine was a passing one, in the context of a long piece.  I realize that ‘free Palestine’ is susceptible of a range of different meanings, not all of them welcome.   I’d have been happier if he’d said something like ‘I support a two state solution, with Israel, safe, secure and recognised within its borders, living peacefully alongside a democratic and viable Palestinian state.’  But that’s not exactly catchy.

A BBC spokesperson said that ‘a late night music show was not considered an appropriate forum for political controversy.’  But popular music has a long standing relationship with politics and protest – so, even if the BBC’s censorship of this song is part of a consistently applied policy, rather than an act of bias as some are claiming, maybe they should rethink it.

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